july 1, 2013

Father Bishoy Youth Group of St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick, NJ Comes to Newark to Assemble Hundreds of Care Packages for the GI Go Fund

Members of the Father Bishoy Youth Group assemble hundreds of care packages for homeless veterans in Newark City Hall for the GI Go Fund

NEWARK, NJ - Over 20 members of the Father Bishoy Youth Group lent a helping hand to homeless veterans by creating more than 200 care packages for The GI Go Fund in Newark City Hall.

The care packages were developed by the volunteers so that they may be distributed during homeless veteran outreach events in the area. They include clothes donated by Harley-Davidson and Bravado, as well as non-perishable food supplies donated by Operation Gratitude.

The effort was conducted by members of the youth group to help veterans in need and teach them about the difficulties some veterans go through. Founded four years ago in honor of the late Father Bishoy, the founding priest of the St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick, NJ, the youth group looks to enlist the young members of the church to give back to the community and teach them the importance of helping people less fortunate in their lives.

Jack Fanous, Executive Director of the GI Go Fund and himself a parishioner of the church, was grateful to the youth group for its efforts, as well as the efforts of the parents for playing such a vital role in teaching the next generation the importance of the freedoms we enjoy thanks to our military.

“It was the lessons that I learned from our church and our community that led me to do the things that I do today,” said Fanous. "We always thank God every day that we are part of this country, and I always say how appreciative I am of our parents for coming to this country and allow us to enjoy the freedoms that we do. I am lucky, and so are all of these young volunteers, and their work today helps show them who helped provide for those freedoms and how we need to support them the way they supported us.”

“I am very proud of you and what your organization is doing,” said Sonia Demetrious, the creator of the youth group and a vital member of the church since its founding, to Fanous during an interview for the Veterans Now radio show. “And I am proud that the kids were able to be a part of this today, seeing what they saw. They have to appreciate what they have. They take things for granted; they complain a lot. But they saw that those little care packages can mean so much to someone and make a person happy, and I have to thank you for that.”

The GI Go Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and their families with finding employment, going to college, connecting to healthcare, and finding housing opportunities. The organization has made waves in recent years since forging a historic partnership with Mayor Cory Booker and the city of Newark to head its Veterans’ Office, utilizing a smarter government approach to find real solutions to the city’s veteran population.

The packages will be used as part of the organization’s Midnight Mission for Homeless Veterans, an innovative outreach service that has scores of volunteers going out before dawn to places with high volumes of veteran homelessness to provide them with emergency supplies and access to VA medical assistance.

In addition, the care packages will be used during the organization’s Stand Down for Homeless Veterans later this fall, which is a one day event that links homeless veterans to food, clothes, legal aid, haircuts, and emergency medical aid.